Case Studies

J&S Construction Company Inc.

Raising the bar in customer service in the Southeast

Headquartered in Cookeville, Tennessee, J&S Construction Company Inc. performs contracting services throughout the southern United States. Founded in 1957 by John D. Stites, J&S Construction has grown into a premier contracting firm specializing in new construction and renovation services for commercial, institutional and governmental markets.

The roots of J&S Construction date back to the mid-1920s when Pat Stites started a small gravel company called Builder’s Supply. This company became revolutionary in the industry as Builder’s Supply was the first to introduce ready-mix concrete to the region. John Stites carried on the entrepreneurial tradition by later becoming the first to open a cash-and-carry lumberyard.

When John returned home after serving in the Navy during World War II, he began his career with the family business. With the Stites’ name now synonymous with construction, Stites decided to open his own business and J&S Construction was formed. The company began as a small firm building speculative houses. In 1971, John’s sons Jack and Johnny decided to follow in their father’s footsteps and began their careers in the family business. Eventually, John Stites would step down from his post and Jack and Johnny would take over management of the company. Today, Jack leads the firm as president alongside chief operating officer, Kevin McCaleb.

“We’re a company based on Christian principles,” says Jack Stites, president of J&S Construction. “We always try to do what we feel is the right thing.” This ideology has been passed down through the Stites family. The past four generations of the Stites family have been in construction while three generations have been involved with J&S Construction.

A problem-solving company

With approximately 120 full-time employees, J&S Construction is a single-source design-build company. “We view ourselves as being in the problem-solving business,” says Stites. “Our problem-solving skills just happen to be related to construction.” As a company that is 100 percent committed to customer satisfaction, J&S Construction sends a follow-up survey to each of its clients upon completion of every project. The company aims to receive a response of “delighted” when referring to a question regarding satisfaction level of the products and services provided. “We’re not going to receive a delighted response unless we absolutely exceed the customer’s expectations, so that’s what we do.”

Through the many diverse projects that J&S Construction completes, the company is involved in a number of LEED certified jobs. The company was the first general contractor in Tennessee to certify at the top three levels: Platinum, Gold and Silver; and the company remains at the forefront for energy-efficient design and construction.

J&S Construction Company Inc.“We believe that by focusing on the energy aspect when concerning LEED projects, it pays off for everyone,” says Stites.

To show how much the owners believe in energy efficiency being a true factor in potential cost savings, the team designed and built J&S Construction’s 28,000-square-foot corporate headquarters to be certified as LEED Gold; the first Class-A office space to be LEED-certified in the state. Energy-efficient techniques were incorporated throughout the facility, providing J&S Construction employees with a 28,000-square-foot teaching tool for potential clients and team members. The building is foam-insulated and contains a water-sourced heating and cooling operation that utilizes the sprinkler system. The result is a cost-efficient system that generates a heating bill that would rival that of a small apartment. “Our gas bill for heating the building is about $53 per month,” Stites explains. “That’s where we were able to use our design-build capabilities on our own dollar to set an example for what we encourage our clients to do.”

J&S Construction has also been involved in value engineering for several military installations for the U.S. government. “We’ve shown them how to change things that they originally had proposed which have saved them a lot of money,” says Stites. J&S Construction’s philosophy of exceeding its client’s expectations was showcased in a project the company completed at Fort Campbell. “They wanted us to just build them a LEED-certifiable building,” says Stites. “That meant that it didn’t have to actually be certified, it just had to meet the requirements. We went ahead and built them a LEED Gold-certified facility at no additional cost.” Since completing this project, J&S Construction has been requested to educate government contractors on the LEED process.

A long tradition

After more than 40 years with the company, Stites has managed more than 600 projects equaling a total value of more than $500 million. When remembering a personal favorite, Stites refers to a project which involved the construction of a dam at a local state park. More than 70 years ago, Stites’ grandfather worked on the job and supplied materials to help construct the dam. Forty years later, the park underwent a major renovation in which J&S Construction received the contract. Thirty-five years after that, the dam was due for yet another renovation in which the company was awarded the job again. “It’s had a real personal connection with us to be able to keep the same job in the family for that long,” says Stites. “We take a lot of pride in that job.”

Stites feels that his company is as strong as ever. After surviving the recession, J&S Construction is reaping the benefits of financing becoming more available in the private sector. “Our team is as strong as it’s ever been, and we are very optimistic about the future,” says Stites. “When we have people knocking on our door because they want to work here, we know we’re doing something right.”

As the company continues to grow, J&S Construction Inc. will continue to raise the bar for quality and customer satisfaction in the Southeast construction industry.

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